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The main Structure of airplanes

January 8, 2021

Benyamin Amiri

By: Benyamin Amiri

The main structure of airplanes

Reading time: 11 min

    Content List

In this lesson, we will examine the main structure of an airplane, such as the wing, fuselage, airplane engine, and other important structures.

If you have ever been to a local airport for a fun flight or to travel to another airport, at first glance you will see a variety of airplanes in terms of shape and structure. But you will soon find that the main part of airplanes are almost the same. In this lesson, we will introduce the main structures of an airplane.


The fuselage is the most important part of the airplane, which has various functions. This is a place for passengers, pilots to sit and carry luggage and supplies. Also, airplane control commands are installed in the cockpit area, where the cockpit itself is installed in the fuselage.

Another role that the fuselage plays is that all other parts of the airplane, including wings, landing equipment, etc., are connected to the fuselage.




Airplane wings are the part of the airplane that allows the airplane to take off. Due to the movement of the airplane on the runway, an air current is formed below and on top of the wing of the airplane, which leads to the production of force for the lift. The lift force causes the plane to fly, and we will study and explain this force in the following lessons to better understand it.

The position of the wings relative to the fuselage:

  • In terms of the position of the wings relative to the fuselage, there are three types of wings.
  • Wings that are attached to the upper part of the fuselage, this type of wing is called High Wing.
  • Wings that attach to the middle of the fuselage. The name of this group of wings is Mid Wing.
  • Wings that are attached to the lower part of the fuselage. This type of wing is called Low Wing.

It should be noted that airplanes that have one set of wings are called Monoplanes, and if they have two sets of wings, they are called Biplanes.

airplane wing

Aileron and Flap

Ailerons are used to allow the pilot to control and direct the wings during flight. These two moving parts are connected at Trailing-Edge or Rear and near the wing edge to the outside of the airplane. Ailerons are driven by the control lever in the pilot’s hand. It should be noted that ailerons move against each other. For example, if the right aileron moves up, the left aileron moves down. This allows the pilot to steer the airplane around a horizontal axis, which we will explain in detail in later lessons. In this lesson, just remember that the aileron is a part of the airplane wing that gives the wings control.

The flaps are also attached to the wing of the airplane. The flaps attach at the trailing edge of the wing and near the fuselage. Flaps are used when the airplane takes off from the runway and lands at the airport because they increase the cross-section of the wing. Unlike ailerons, the flaps move in the same direction, For example, if the right flap moves down, the left flap moves down in the same direction, and vice versa. Flaps are controlled by the pilot from inside the cockpit.

In this lesson, just know that the flap is the part of the wing that is used during landing and taking off. We will examine the flaps in detail in the following lessons.





The whole end of the airplane is called the empennage, which you can see in the image below. Empennage consists of two parts, the vertical stabilizer or fin, and the horizontal stabilizer. We have all played darts and seen the blades at the end of the darts. The blades at the end of the dart make the dart stable at the time of throwing and do not change suddenly.

The vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer on the plane play the role of stabilizing the airplane like darts. Simply keep the airplane in a certain direction and does not change direction suddenly during flight, because the airplane has a vertical stabilizer and a horizontal stabilizer.


Vertical Stabilizer

Horizontal Stabilizer

Rudder and Elevator

The rudder is attached to the end of the vertical stabilizer. The rudder is controlled by two pedals located under the pilot’s foot. Unlike the vertical stabilizer, this part is not fixed and is movable. It should be noted that the rudder allows the pilot to tilt the nose of the airplane to the left or right during flight.

Rudder and aileron are also used in combination when bypassing the airplane so that the airplane can experience a smooth lap. (Additional explanations will be provided in the relevant lesson).

In this lesson, just know that the radar is in the empennage section and is connected to the vertical stabilizer, allowing the pilot to tilt the nose of the airplane to the right and left. Let’s take a look at how to use radar and additional explanations in the rudder lesson.

The elevator is attached to the end of the horizontal stabilizer, and unlike the horizontal stabilizer, it is not stationary and moves. The elevator is controlled by the control lever in the pilot’s hand, allowing the pilot to move the nose of the airplane up and down. (We will provide additional explanations and a complete review of the elevator in the relevant lesson).



Landing Gear

Like a car that needs wheels to move on the ground, the airplane uses the landing gear to move on the ground, and also the landing gear bears the weight of the airplane when landing. Light airplanes and Ultralight airplanes usually have three wheels. The main wheels are located on either side of the fuselage, known as the Main Wheel.

The third wheel can be installed both under the nose of the airplane and at the tail of the airplane. If the third wheel is installed in the nose of the airplane, it is called Nose Wheel and its design is known as Tricycle Gear.

If the third wheel is installed at the rear of the airplane, it is called the Tail Wheel and its design is known as the Conventional Landing Gear. It should be noted that in general, landing gears are divided into two types, Fixed Gear and Retractable Gear. Simply put, there are airplanes that the pilot cannot pick up landing gear during the flight, and the landing gear is constantly out, like Cessna 172. There are also airplanes that can pick up the landing gear after taking off from the runway, like heavy airplanes or Beechcraft Baron 58.

Landing Gear

Shock Struts

We all know that the car has springs and shock absorbers. The purpose of the spring and shock absorber design for the car is to absorb the force applied by the ground and bumps so that the car is not damaged in the long run.

Airplanes, like cars, use shock absorbers so that the airplane is not damaged by the force applied to the fuselage when moving on the ground and during landing. In aviation, these shock absorbers are known as Shock Struts.



The brake of an airplane is almost the same as the brake structure of a car, but slightly different. In airplanes, brakes are usually mounted on two main wheels.

As you know, brakes are applied by one pedal in cars, but usually, in airplanes, brakes are applied by two pedals. This means that you can apply the brakes to the right wheel and the left wheel separately as desired, this system is known as Differential Braking.

Airplanes with differential braking systems can better bypass the runway or airport ramp because you can apply full braking to one wheel while the other wheel is completely free and can move easily.
For example, if your plane has a differential braking system and you want to make a deep turn to the right, you can prevent it from moving by applying brakes to the right wheel, while the left wheel is free and can move easily. This will allow your plane to turn deep and comfortable to the right.

Shock Strut and Brake

Power Plant

In small airplanes, the power plant consists of the engine and the propeller.



The main function of the airplane engine is to power the propeller into circulation. Other functions of the plane engine include generating electrical power, vacuum sources for flight equipment, and heating energy for airplane heaters.



The propeller is rotated by the force supplied by the airplane engine, and as a result of this rotation, the propeller creates the thrust force, which allows the airplane to move forward. We will talk about propeller and thrust in the next lessons.



A firewall is the part of the power plant on which the airplane engine is mounted. Other functions of the firewall include removing the cockpit and protecting the pilots from the power plant.


The cowling protects the airplane engine from rain, dust, as well as a sudden drop in engine temperature.

airplane engine

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